Cuca Gamarra, a tireless worker with a long history

Cuca Gamarra's candidacy for the presidency of Congress, for which she will compete with the socialist Francina Armengol, is not an afterthought, but the conviction of Alberto Núñez Feijóo that he would need, if he finally succeeds, which is not ruled out.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 August 2023 Wednesday 10:21
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Cuca Gamarra, a tireless worker with a long history

Cuca Gamarra's candidacy for the presidency of Congress, for which she will compete with the socialist Francina Armengol, is not an afterthought, but the conviction of Alberto Núñez Feijóo that he would need, if he finally succeeds, which is not ruled out. a few hours before the voting begins, to a person like the general secretary of the PP, in whom she trusted when she became president of the PP, both as a spokesperson in Congress, and in her role as general secretary of the PP.

Inherited from Pablo Casado, who put her in charge of the Popular Group to replace Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, she was immediately able to verify that she had not been wrong, and that she had two of the qualities that most characterize her, her loyalty, her ability to work , his seriousness, and his long-term outlook, which has revealed a policy of resistance, learned in what is one of his main hobbies, running, and not sprints, but marathons and half marathons.

In short, a "curranta", and that is what Feijóo liked the most about his general secretary, whom he already knows very well after a year and a half of working hand in hand. A tireless worker because from a very young age she realized that if she wanted to get ahead she had to make an effort, and that is what she did. Being born on December 23 marked Concepción (Cuca) Gamarra (Logroño, 1974). Since she started going to school, in Las Agustinas, she was always the smallest in her class, which forced her to try harder. One year at those ages she shows herself, and only by working harder did she manage to be a good student.

Born into a middle-class family, she is the eldest of three siblings. Her childhood was happy, she confesses, surrounded by brothers, cousins, uncles and her grandmothers, since she did not know her grandparents. She was a girl who, above all, liked to read and at the age of 12 or 13 she dreamed of being a journalist, because of the halo of adventure that surrounded that profession. She saw TVE correspondents and wanted to travel to those places. She liked to read the newspapers with her maternal grandmother, and they analyzed politics, "which is life, not parties."

At the age of 17, he left the comfort of family life and went to Bilbao to study Economic Law at the University of Deusto. There he lived seven years of which he keeps very good memories and great friends. After graduating, he did an internship and started working in the Basque Country, but with the idea of ​​returning to Logroño. When he achieved it, he had already been involved in politics. First in Gesto por la Paz, because "in the face of terrorism you have to take sides", and then in Nuevas Generaciones del PP, product, he says, of "an act of rebellion" after the last victory of Felipe González, in 1993. He joined and attended meetings, but nothing else. He had no interest in the organic life of the party.

Although politics was not in her plans, as she was a "vocational lawyer", she seemed to be looking for her. Back in Logroño, she began working in the office of José María Gilabert, a senior position in the UCD governments and who became State Attorney General at the time of the 23-F coup attempt. With Gilabert, she learned not only everything she knows about Law, but also the importance of transition, which was revealed to her by one of her protagonists. She learned that politics is to have high vision and "it is not from fronts, but from tables and general interest." She also said that in politics the leading role belongs to society, and politicians "are supporting actors."

While she was learning all this, she began to lead a group of New Generations who were involved in politics “in the town and in the winery”, something logical for a woman from La Rioja. That also defines her. She likes gastronomy because of what she supposes of sitting at a table and enjoying after-dinner conversations, chatting, friends and a bottle of wine, because “each one has a story behind it”.

This is how 2003 arrived and the then mayor of Logroño, Julio Revuelta, placed it on the municipal list. At the age of 28, she managed to become a councilor, but she made her position compatible with the office, because she wanted to carve out a future for herself. But four years later, the PP lost the elections, the head of her list resigned from her and she saw herself as a spokesperson for the opposition, which already forced her to leave her job. Those four years, she admits, were "the stage in which I have learned the most", since she is convinced that she "learns in opposition and when you govern you put it into practice".

And she put it into practice in 2011 when she won the elections with an absolute majority and became the first female mayor of Logroño, the one with the most support ever. She was in the post for eight years, while she was vice president of the FEMP.

After Rajoy's departure and after Pablo Casado prevailed over Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in the PP congress, the new popular leader offered her to join the leadership as vice-secretary for social policy, despite the fact that she had gone on the candidacy of the former vice president of the government. She has known Casado for many years, from when he was president of Nuevas Generaciones de Madrid, because although it did not coincide with his mandate in La Rioja, they had mutual friends. What made her decide to accept the position was that social policy "is the closest thing to municipal politics, since it deals with people's problems." With the same spirit, she agreed to be the spokesperson for the Popular Group in Congress, replacing Álvarez de Toledo. Then I did not know that just two years later she would not only be that, but also secretary of the party, already with Feijóo, and who would ask the President of the Government the questions in the Wednesday session, since his leader was not a deputy.

The time had come to make the leap into national politics, and in 2019 she was elected a deputy in Congress. When she remembers the first day she spoke in the Chamber, she still feels something special: "I have a lot of respect for the institutions." Today that feeling is surely more intense, because no matter what happens in the constitutive session, she will be a candidate to be the third authority of the state, and she will not stop trying to get the five votes that she lacks until the last moment.

Cuca, “a very free woman”, has taken on so many challenges that she has not had time for other things. Friend of her friends, the time she steals from her dream is dedicated to sports, her “escape valve”. She gets up early and runs 12 kilometers with a group of friends, with whom she later has breakfast. She has run marathons and half marathons, a way to travel and enjoy life and friends. Her love for sports does not stop there. She skis and for a few years she has played golf, even though when she was little the sport was not her thing. "She didn't even jump the plinth," she admits.

If he still has time, less and less, he likes to read. Among his favorite authors are Paul Auster and Rafael Chirbes, whom he admires for the way he described the consequences of the previous crisis.